New York-based artist Eli Keszler is at the apex of his career. This year alone he’s had a three-month-long solo exhibition (“Blue Skies” at Fuse Arts, Bradford, UK), performed internationally in a duo with Laurel Halo, collaborated with noted Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai, taught experimental composition and performance at Camp in the Pyrenees mountains, composed music for Turner Prize–winning visual artist Laure Prouvost, and most recently embarked on a world tour with Oneohtrix Point Never.
“Stadium” is his new album for Shelter Press. As his ninth solo record,“Stadium” reflects his move from South Brooklyn to Manhattan, where he produced the album. The constant blurry motion and ever-changing landscapes of the fast-paced island helped him modify and shape his sound into a new kind of film noir. “After we moved into our East Village apartment,” Keszler explains, “we found a guitar pick on the floor that read ‘Stadium’. We looked at each other at the same time and had the same thought. It could have gone any number of ways.” Indeed, there is a startling amount of expression at play on each track, where intersections of melody, restraint and rhythm are used to challenge the idea of memory, impression and space.
Keszler is often mistaken for an electronic musician, but in fact his sounds are raw and natural, produced by hand live in-situ. His performance with the drumset and acoustic percussion are central to his work. He produces almost impossible textures through self-realized methodologies: cascading melodies, a shadow of voices, and a unique pointillistic materiality. Although playing with the intensity of digitally-created music, his communications are done live with no processing. These haptics are what give “Stadium” its depth and its warmth. In a recent interview for Dazed, collaborator Oneohtrix Point Never comments, “I’ve always described his playing as bacterial. He’s able to parallax into very small, very acute, very specific relationships between percussive textures. It’s beyond just being a drummer—he’s a world-building percussionist.”
In “Stadium,” Keszler uses lived experience to realize the most wide-ranging sound he’s created to date. “Stadium” draws out textures from overlapping geographies (from Shinjuku arcades to city streets and Brutalist architecture) and transforms these travelogue field recordings into starting points for composition. He then builds on these environments to create subliminal spaces for his percussion, keyboards and acoustic instruments. His “world-building” techniques are pushed to new levels with mesmerizing string and brass arrangements. Throughout the album, Keszler’s writing, keyboard playing and scoring operate like a sonic channel that transports the listener into a quaking web.
Perhaps this is the “stadium” referred to in the title: a larger network of sound and bodies moving continually, oscillating and turning in on itself. Keszler has explored these ideas before both in his visual work and sound installations—especially notable on projects such as his massive Manhattan Bridge installation ‘Archway’ or his Boston City Hall work «Northern Stair Projection.» “Stadium” takes these long-running ideas to new depths. “My installations work with massive city spaces for a complex of individuals,” Keszler states. “The recordings on Stadium are inverted. They are landscapes scaled for the singular. Like a mass collecting in one arena, this music compresses city spaces, genre and instrumentalism into an amorphous form. On the record, there are ruptures of information and happenstance. Like a game, it could go any number of ways.”
Forma by Lucy Railton, is a work that burrows deep inside. It disorientates and teases, without malice. Its beauty lies in gentle projections, which, though subtle, leave deep impressions, like the wings of a nocturnal moth reflecting dark light. Its path, too, is unpredictable, but such disorientation is not a reflection of chaos. Instead, a mysterious intention appears through an imperious unfolding - its logic escapes us, but nevertheless captivates us. It is the story of a becoming of forms, as well as of their fading away and their appearance as a disappearance . Metabolist Meter (Foster, Cottin, Caetani and a Fly), by Max Eilbacher is a teeming piece, a matrix where textures and structures merge together, where the polyrhythmic instances become timbre, where the formal abstraction of the harmonic volutes coagulates around a vibrating form that is actualized in the dramatic reality of a dying fly. And this formal mastery is not disembodied in Max Eilbacher’s work and the kaleidoscopic forms of the sound spectra that he has deployed know how to resonate in the sensations and experiences of each one. These works, each with their own agenda, evolve with grace and inspiration in their exploration of vast sound worlds, and it is with great pride that we present them in the new collection. Released in association with Editions Mego. Coordination GRM: François Bonnet, Jules Négrier Executive Production: Peter Rehberg
A stunning survey of the 1970s heyday of great Japanese singer and countercultural icon Maki Asakawa (1942-2010). Deep-indigo, dead-of-night enka, folk, and blues, inhaling Billie Holiday and Nina Simone down to the bone. A traditional waltz abuts Nico-style incantation; defamiliarized versions of Oscar Brown Jr. and Bessie Smith collide with big-band experiments alongside poet Shūji Terayama; a sitar-led psychedelic wig-out runs into a killer excursion in modal, spiritual jazz. Existentialism and noir, mystery and allure, hurt and hauteur. With excellent notes by Alan Cummings and the fabulous photographs of Hitoshi Jin Tamura. "Japan's answer to Scott Walker, with a visual aesthetic and a death-decadent appeal that is straight out of the Keiji Haino songbook." --Volcanic Tongue
Available on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1984, Outernational Sounds presents Build An Ark pianist Nate Morgan’s second outing for the celebrated Nimbus West label – the conscious and spiritualised sounds of Retribution, Reparation.
"Pianist Nate Morgan (1964-2013) was a central figure on the Los Angeles jazz undergound. A core member of the circle around the legendary bandleader, pianist and community organiser Horace Tapscott, Morgan had been part of Tapscott’s U.G.M.A.A. (Union Of God’s Musicians and Artists Ascension) since he was just a teenager, and was a key member of the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, known as ‘The Ark’. Through the 1980s and 1990s he kept the PAPA flame alive, organising the Ark’s sprawling songbook, running legendary jam sessions, and keeping LA’s deep jazz roots well watered. By the early 2000s he was bringing hard won knowledge to a new generation as part of the Build The Ark collective. He was a musician’s musician, at the beating heart of the radical, community-minded Los Angeles jazz network that Tapscott and his associates had first put together in the early 1960s.
Retribution, Reparation was the second of the two LPs Morgan recorded for Tom Albach’s storied Nimbus West imprint. His first, Journey Into Nigritia (Outernational Sounds OTR- 008), had been a declaration of arrival laced with energies drawn from Cecil Taylor and Coltrane. One year later, with nods to Herbie Hancock (‘One Finger Snap’) and Ellington (‘Come Sunday’), Retribution, Reparation was a confident statement of purpose. Politically charged with pan-Africanist and Black nationalist sentiments inspired by Marcus Garvey, and titled with uncompromising directness, the album focusses the soundworld of the Ark into a surging, restless masterpiece of spiritualised modal jazz. With Danny Cortez on trumpet and Ark stalwart Jesse Sharps on saxophones the frontline is explosive (this set is also one of the few places the extraordinary Sharps can be heard in a small group setting), while Fritz Wise and Ark regular Joel Ector hold down the rhythm section. Morgan’s forceful, Tyner-like chords and virtuosic solos and bind the music together. From the poised drama of the opening dedication to Tapscott’s U.G.M.A.A. (‘U.G.M.A.A.GER’) to the propulsive militancy of the title track, Retribution, Reparation spreads the word: ‘Advance to Victory, Let Nigritia Be Free!’"
'BATSUMI’s 1974 classic. Repressed at Pallas in Germany on 180g black vinyl. Cover printed on reverse board and includes printed inner sleeve with liner notes from Francis Gooding. Initial copies shipped with exclusive 30cm x 30cm print of Batsumi performing in 1974.
Batsumi is a masterpiece of spiritualised afro-jazz, and a prodigious singularity in the South African jazz canon. There is nothing else on record from the period that has the deep, resonant urgency of the Batsumi sound, a reverb-drenched, formidably focused pulse, underpinned by the tight-locked interplay of traditional and trap drums, and pushed on by the throb of Zulu Bidi’s mesmeric bass figures. The warm notes of Johnny Mothopeng’s guitar complete a soundscape that is at once closely packed with sonic texture and simultaneously vibrating with open space, and in whose shimmer and haze Themba Koyana and Tom Masemola soar. A sonorous echo emanating from an ancient well, reverberant with jazz ghosts and warmed by the heat of soul and pop, Batsumi is nothing short of revelatory.
Many groups from this period did not issue recordings at all, and Batsumi are unusual in even having left an official recorded legacy. Out of print since the 1970s, and never issued outside of South African in its entirety, Batsumi is a landmark South African jazz recording, and a key musical document of its time.'
A wonderfully fine-feathered free jazz zinger from L.A., 1978, Horace Tapscott and the Pan Peoples Arkestra’s ‘The Call’ is reissued by DJ Harv’s Outernational Sounds for the first time
“Our Music is contributive, rather than competitive” - Horace Tapscott. Working under the right kinda steam, Tapscott and company play a blinder here, sending us reeling with the deliciously complex, rolling syncopation and flighty horns of ‘The Call’, then seducing with the mellifluous appearance of Adele Sebastian in ‘Quagmire Manor at Five A.M.’ before erupting into needlepoint bebop, and back out to Adele. Percussion fiends will then be in their element with the lithe, Afro-latinate swing and frenzied paso-doble vamps of ‘Nakatini Suite’, before they switch up and out again with the heady sway of strings and wind, hunched breaks and searching clarinet of ‘Peyote Song No. III.’
Maestro melodist Christophe Petchanatz (aka Klimperei) and all around music fanatic David Fenech engage remotely in a repetitive exchange of recordings and overdubs on their debut album titled ‘Rainbow de Nuit’, sporadically spanning over the last decade. Evocations of experimental and improvised jazz, chansonesque songs, bluesy folk, and outsider music undulate harmoniously across the record. From music boxes and walkie-talkies down to plastic straws, plucking various stringed instruments such as the charrango and banjo, kazoos and snake-charmer ocarina and flutes, all the way through the sweet accordion and melodica, found and traditional tuned percussion - there is far from a shortage of sound sources on this freakishly inviting record. What germinates as an imaginative and emotional chord progression played by Klimperei, evolves with Fenech layering additional recordings, which would then find their way back home to Klimperei yet again, and so on, and so forth. This recursive compositional and improvisational loop, combined with Fenech’s musique-concrete-like mixing and editing techniques, transforms the acoustic recordings by way of compression, saturation, and reverberation or simple pitch changes - resulting in the duo’s recordings seemingly sound like they may very well be an octet in real time. While the majority of the recordings have been ping-ponged remotely, David and Christophe unite under one roof to record the closing track of the album.
The pieces presented on ‘Rainbow de Nuit’ treat the ears to a carousel ride waltzing through a multiverse made up of surrealist puppet theaters, dramatic film noir act changes, and a mosaic of polyphonic instruments and toys alike. In other words, a score to a fable brought to life with haunting yet charming melodies and occasional hallucinatory voices reminiscent of laughter and infantile epiphanies which we hear on Tarzan en Tasmanie and Madrigal for Lola. This is taken a step further by Fenech, to a brief libretto of incomprehensible tongues on Pocarina. Amid the mysterious and dark (Septième Ciel and Rugit Le Coeur) also lies tender and simple compositions (Rainbow de Nuit and Chevalier Gambette), murky suspenseful melancholy (Levy Attend and Eno Ennio), and casually slipping into pensive psychedelic backdrops (Un Cercueil à Deux Places) - forming a colorful blend of sounds. A world of echoes. A tale of tales. One persistent earworm that you’ll likely be whistling and humming along to on a first listen.